Both of Canada’s major air carriers have announced they will resume multiple direct flight routes to Hawaii from Vancouver International Airport and Calgary International Airport.
Starting on December 17, Air Canada will fly four times weekly from Vancouver to Maui, and three times weekly from Vancouver to Honolulu. Then on December 18, the flag carrier will also resume its flights from Calgary to Maui, which will gradually ramp up to multiple flights per week.
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On WestJet, three times weekly flights for two flight routes from Vancouver to Maui and Vancouver to Honolulu will resume on December 18.
Over the following days, WestJet will launch a two times weekly flight service from Calgary to Maui, and a weekly flight service from Calgary to Honolulu.
Air Canada and WestJet are showing some confidence with these flight operations, as it is not only timed with holiday travel demand, but more importantly the State of Hawaii has agreed to provide Canadians an exemption from the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival in the Hawaiian Islands — provided that they receive a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure.
All passengers travelling to Hawaii are required to display their negative test prior to boarding. If the results are unavailable before boarding the final leg of the trip, the passenger must quarantine for 14 days or the length of the stay, whichever is shorter.
More information on the State of Hawaii’s COVID-19 travel safety requirements can be found online, including mandatory registration for all individuals prior to travel.
“We applaud Governor Ige’s announcement that Hawaii’s science-based, pre-travel testing initiative is now available for Canadians to be exempt from mandatory quarantine requirements on arrival in Hawaii, and we are very pleased Air Canada is a preferred airline in Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program,” said Timothy Liu, managing director of sales planning at Air Canada, in a statement.
“We have long advocated for safe and science-based strategies over blanket quarantines to enable a safe and secure resumption of air travel.”
WestJet has partnered with DynaLIFE for a testing program for passengers holding a WestJet-ticketed itinerary. The testing costs CAD$150 per person and is currently only available in Alberta.
“Safety remains our number one priority and we thank Governor Ige and the State of Hawaii for providing this opportunity for Canadians to enjoy all that the islands have to offer while safely supporting the tourism industry,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, the chief commercial officer of WestJet.
However, all travellers returning from Hawaii to Canada must quarantine for 14 days, starting on the day of their arrival at a Canadian airport. Travellers are also advised to check the policies of their return destination and the Government of Canada’s health safety policies for travel, which may change without notice.
Alberta residents may be eligible to participate in the joint Government of Canada and Government of Alberta pilot project to test arriving residents as part of reducing quarantine.
All of this comes as COVID-19 cases in Alberta and British Columbia have surged in recent weeks, with the curve seeing a steep climb.
On Tuesday, Alberta reported 1,115 new cases and 16 new deaths over a 24-hour period. British Columbia also saw 941 new cases and 10 new deaths on the same day over the same period. There are also frequent reports of passengers testing positive for COVID-19 on Vancouver and Calgary flights.
However, Hawaii has been able to keep a relatively low case count, even when adjusted for population, due to its location and strict quarantine measures. There were 56 new cases in the state on Tuesday.